For decades, women in business have lacked the resources to navigate or maintain executive roles. Finally, venture capital funded projects have emerged to fill this void.
The latest is Chief, a New York-based private network for women who hold senior positions in technology, retail, business, finance, media and more. The company today launches $ 3 million in venture capital funding to provide its 200 members with access to a Tribeca clubhouse, monthly executive training and leadership development sessions and a series of salons, including “intimate dinners with captains of industry “and celebrity fireside conversations.
The capture? The primary membership costs $ 5,800 per year for members with a job-level vice president position and even more for those in Suite C at $ 7,800. Its founders, Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan, say that ideally, companies should pay members, similar to how a start-up might pay to send one of its employees to a conference.
Chief and his investors, Primary Venture Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, Accel, Box Group, Able Partners, XFactor Ventures, Silas Capital and BBG Ventures are betting that the company’s coaching sessions, clubhouse, mobile app and network of successful women will keep their members coming back every year: $ 5,800 in hand.
“Companies are looking for something like this,” Kaplan, Casper’s former vice president of communications, told TechCrunch. “They have these amazing women, they know there is a problem with equality at the top and this is not something they can provide within their own four walls.”
Although Chief’s initial 200-person cohort does not include any males, the group is open to all genders. Given the controversy surrounding The Wing’s previous membership policy, which barred men from entering, the Chief’s decision to accept anyone who is prepared “to fight the 200-year gap in gender equality,” in Kaplan’s words, it will probably save them a headache down the road. .
“We are a very mission-driven company,” Childers, the former vice president of operations in the Handy home services market, told TechCrunch. “If a man is inspired to help women get to Suite C, they can apply and become part of the Boss.”
Although Chief was unable to provide specific data on member diversity, Childers and Kaplan did say it was “the most important thing” and when I first spoke with the couple this month, months before the launch, they said they planned to offer grants to members. They cannot pay the annual fee.
“We don’t want to see a 1 percent increase in female management in 10 years,” Childers said. “We want to close that gap as quickly as possible.”
The startup appears to have the best of intentions, although what appears to be Chief is an expensive networking opportunity for New York’s current elite. That said, if the Boss only helps 1 percent of women in business maintain executive roles, she at least helps move the needle slightly.